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Reflection in Role Playing and the Role Playing Community

Written by Chung Chow


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Role playing has existed way before the time when someone came up with the great idea to slap some rules to it and called it a game. I'm sure our parents and the parents of our parents can remember as a kid running around pretending they are someone else or somewhere in a far off place fighting evil mythical monsters. The mere truth, role playing is more than just a game. It's life.

My name is Chung and I've been into role playing games since I was just a mere teen. Since the new year of 2005 have just turn the corner, I thought it would be a fine time to sit down and reflect a little on how role playing games have affected our lives. If you are reading this, it's most likely that you are in to this fine hobby of ours and I hope that this hobby has affected you as much as it has affected me. Most of this article covers the views of role playing from my eyes and I am sure most of you can understand where I am coming from. It also turned out pretty long so I’m not sure if you’d have to patience to get to the end but if you do, I’ll see you at the end and I thank you in advance. :)


From Swords to Dice

It's pretty easy to say I role play, however, I find that many people don't know much about how and where role playing games originated. So I decide to do a little research and trace it as far as it's relevant.

There is no doubt role playing has help past generals fight their wars. It was important to allow generals to plan attacks and simulate attack plans to win a war. This can be traced back to ancient Sumer over four thousands years ago. Heck, the emergence of Chess and Go were the results of war-games!

It took a well known man named Wells to publish a set of rules for war gaming for the everyday Joe. However, the turning point for war gaming came when a man named Charles Roberts create a board game based on war gaming rules. He later then formed the Avalon-Hill Game Company. If you don't know that name by now, perhaps you should put down the X-box and Playstation and do some REAL gaming for a change. ;)

In the 60's war gaming became a subculture hit. Those who weren't off in a world of their own with the help of substances or busy fighting against the turmoil were most likely war gaming. It then became an industry rather than a mere game. War gaming fan clubs started to spring up everywhere, publications started to circulate and the science-fiction fans were on the rise.

Then from England a man wrote a book that was destined to change the literary world as well as what is soon to be known as role playing games. This destiny was amply called The Lord of the Rings. Released fully in the United States it rocked the imaginations of the middle class teenaged males. Suddenly historical wars were replaced with battle of Helms Deep and foot soldiers become goblins and orcs. It was only logical after that that war games were being adapted into the world of Tolkien.

Fantasy took off and various rules were adapted to the genre. This takes us to the infamous town of called Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. A man name Arneson and a fellow member, both who belonged to a medieval warfare enthusiasts’ society called The Castles and Crusades Society, started to experiment with implementing role playing during the dull periods of war gaming.


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